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Trump ad on immigration draws ‘Willie Horton’ comparisons



WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 26: US President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he prepares to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on October 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump was traveling to a rally in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
Marovich/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump on Wednesday
    released an ad
    that blames Democrats for the case of a an
    unauthorized immigrant who killed multiple police officers in
  • Many saw comparisons between Trump’s new ad and the infamous
    “Willie Horton” ads that ran in support of former President
    George H.W. Bush against Michael Dukakis in 1988. 

President Donald Trump on Wednesday released an ad that blamed
Democrats for a homicidal unauthorized immigrant, stirring
outrage for its overt racial themes days before the midterm

The ad prominently features Luis Bracamontes, an unauthorized
Mexican immigrant who was given
the death penalty in April
for killing two California cops in
2014. The ad depicts Bracamontes as the poster child for
unauthorized immigration and falsely claims “Democrats let
him into our country … Democrats let him stay.” 

Bracamontes was
deported twice
for entering the country illegally. When he
committed the killings in 2014, he was also not authorized to be
in the US.

Trump’s new ad also includes clips of unidentified people rioting
in unspecified locations, seemingly portraying a migrant caravan
heading toward the US border as inherently violent and

The president has repeatedly claimed,
without providing evidence
, that the caravan is full of
dangerous criminals and possibly people from the Middle East.

The ad ends with the question, “Who else would Democrats let in?
President Donald Trump and Republicans are making America
safe again.”

Read more:
Poll suggests Trump voters are more loyal to him than they are to
the Republican Party

Critics and other observers, including some conservatives,
decried the ad as blatantly “racist.”
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake called the ad “sickening”
and “a new low in campaigning.”

It wasn’t the first time Trump has used Bracamontes’ story
in an ad. A January ad also featured him
and accused Democrats of being “complicit in all murders” by
unauthorized immigrants.

Many drew comparisons to the infamous “Willie Horton” ads that
ran in support of former President George H.W. Bush against
then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in 1988. 

William Horton, who was dubbed “Willie Horton,” was a convicted
murderer serving a life sentence who was permitted to leave
prison in June 1986 via a weekend furlough program in
Massachusetts. Horton absconded during furlough and in April 1987
raped a white woman and stabbed her white fiancée, according
to The Washington Post
. As governor, Dukakis supported the
furlough program. 

At the time, crime was at the forefront of American voter’s
minds, as
brutal drug-related violence
was a common occurrence in major
American cities like New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington,

Supporters of Bush seized on these sentiments by creating ads
that either alluded to or directly referenced Horton’s story. One
of the ads featured Horton’s mugshot, while another portrayed
Dukakis as someone who favors prisons with revolving doors. The
latter was produced by Roger Ailes, who founded Fox News.
However, the Bush campaign did not directly produce the ads.

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